My Mom doesn't know I'm doing this and she'll probably blow her stack when she finds out but I think someone slightly removed from everything ought to put in a few comments.

My name is Acashi Daylin--or at least I thought it was until this war business started. My father is Tran Daylin, my mother Andrea Talltrees. Dad's an Albegensi and was one of my grandfather's farmhands before he married my mother. From all I can tell, it was what the old ladies around here called a "real love match"--and why not?--Dad's tall and handsome and...well, I wanted to be just like him! Oh, he's strict, but I guess a kid needs that, sometimes! Anyway, Grandpa gave them a farm, and they and I worked it. Made a pretty good living, too. Whatever.... I consider myself a Navajo--I look like Dad, tall and dark--and a Natural, part of the Naturals Cult, believing in not using anything that wasn't around during the time of our ancestors in the mid-20th Century. We also believe in Equality of All Species, and that once got us on the Federation's Suspect List. Since we also supply all the food for the nation, it also got us off just as fast, otherwise the American Sector would've slowly starved!

That was my place in life when the Albegensi-Terran War broke out. Then, my whole world just shattered. Dad was arrested as a spy, Mom wouldn't eat, wouldn't sleep. I tell you--I thought she was going to die! Our Spirit Leader, George Windrider, showed up, made her some blackberry tea, and sent her to Old Town to look up a friend of his--some smuggler. How George ever came to know a criminal, we didn't find out until much later, and was that ever a tale!

The day Mom left for Old Town was the last time I saw my mother for over a year. While Mom was gone, Dad escaped from detention and some friends of his put him on a ship headed for Albegensia. Mom was accused of engineering the escape and a Federation Marshal in a Search Drone showed up looking for her. She had to run, leaving me behind.

During that time, I lived with my grandparents, trying to ignore everyone's pity. Poor little Cash! Abandonec! Father and Mother fugitives. Poor child! I never believed what they said about either of them. I love my parents...still do...both of them!

Anyway, about eighteen months later, Mom reappeared. One of our neighbors, Eli Nighthorse--he's been sweet on Mom before Dad came along--found her walking along the highway one rainy night. For several days after that, there were Marshals swarming over our property, talking to Mom behind closed doors. She had to go to the old capitol in Sacramento to testify at a hearing. Then, she came home, called me into the kitchen, and said she had something to tell me.

I remember she sat there in one of the chairs my great-grandfather had carved by hand, wearing that weird-looking, shapeless dress she said some nun had given her. She looked so fat--my mother was never fat! Dad used to tease her about being so slim--"My sylph-like little Terran," he used to call her--but now, her belly was bulging out the front of that sack she was wearing. She told me my father wasn't coming home, I'd never see him again, and while I was trying to understand that, went on, in a totally toneless voice, "Cash--the man who helped me find your father...I'm going to have his baby...." I didn't wait to hear any more, just bolted--out of my chair, out of the house, into the field, to throw myself into the grass and burrow my face into its clear, sweet smell, as I burst into tears....

Sorry about that--it was a pretty big shock for someone to get...hey, I'm only 16...!

Anyway, after I had some time to think it over, I calmed down a little.

Our people are shunning Mom now, and me, too, to a certain extent, because I defend her. I've accepted the fact of the baby and I think I'm looking forward to having a little brother or sister--I think I'd like a sister, to help take care of, even if it does look like him, with cat's eyes, and red hair--God, what if it has a tail? Lately, I'm starting thinking about him, too...did he know about the baby and what would he do if he did? Personally, I think he loves my Mom. I know she still loves him. Sometimes, I hear her crying at night and calling his name. There's a rumor that he's back in Old Town, and I've gotten this idea. Only problem is, I think Mom's on to me. She's forbidden me to drive the Rover out on the highway. Says the Marshals might pick me up...fat chance of that! They're too busy chasing spies to bother a 16-year-old kid!

She's left the keys on the table--she's too big to drive now, being nine months pregnant--and I'm sitting here wondering what's to stop me from taking them. What if I went to Old Town and met this Sinbad sh'en Singh and told him about the baby and how Mom still loves him--what would he do?

I'm going to do it! I think I can make it to the highway before Mom finds out, and if all goes well, I just may come back with a passenger.... Wish me luck!

(Sinbad's Last Voyage is the first novel in the series The Adventures of Sinbad, [published by Double Dragon Publications as an e-book and paperback. It has also been made into an audio book by Books in Motion. The sequel, Sinbad's Wife, is scheduled for release in June, 2008.)

Toni V. Sweeney
Sinbad's Wife, Double Dragon Publications
Three Moon Station, The Wild Rose Press (Writing as Icy Snow Blackstone)


  1. Nightingale // May 12, 2008 at 9:47 PM  

    What a great character. I got caught up in him. Loved the way you introduced the main character and his backstory. Another of you books I look forward to reading.

  2. Mary Marvella // May 12, 2008 at 11:00 PM  

    You are so good at characterization. La Nora would be proud. (That's Nora Roberts for those who don't know the NY Times best selling author on a first name basis.